Apps Every Parents Should Be Aware Of

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Facebook is not as popular for teens as it once was, particularly because parents and even grandparents are now more frequent users.  Teens are not anxious to share posts and photos when grandma is their “friend”.

Here are  7 Apps and websites popular with children and young adults that  parents should be aware.


According to recent studies, Instagram is now the most popular social network for US teens. Out of the 7200 teenagers surveyed, 76% were active on Instagram compared to just 45% on Facebook. If your teen has an Instagram account, make sure their privacy settings are locked as to  photo visibility.  This means that their photos will be shown only to their followers, not to the public and that they will have to approve any future follower requests.


This app is extremely popular. Known as the “disappearing” message app because images appear for 10 seconds then disappear from the screen. Those images are not completely deleted. The recipients of the images can take quick screenshots and circulate them to anyone anywhere. Further, third party apps are available which “help” those wanting to save the images. Security on services such as have led to hundreds of thousands of supposedly “disappeared” images re-appearing on the internet.



An image-based bulletin board website, divided into various boards, similar to Pinterest. Famous for having been part of celebrity nude photo leaks, 4chan requires no registration whatsoever.  This app allows strong sexual images, including pornography. It is definitely not for children.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak, a social chat app particularly popular with college students. It creates an anonymous social chat room of up to 500 nearby users.  Although the app has a 17+ rating, there’s no restrictions preventing under-age kids from signing up. Monitoring is totally controlled by users making an easy platform for cyber-bullies. Yik Yak threats have even resulted in various evacuations or ‘lock –downs” of schools.


Supposedly an adult dating app, Tinder locates singles near your physical location. Once two people have “connected” they can exchange private message directly.  However, anyone over the age of 13 can sign up.  While Tinder claims its users between 13 and 17 will only be able to view others of similar age, the app takes a user’s age from their Facebook profile so a sexual predator can easily create a fake profile to pose as a teen. is a social Q&A site. Anonymous users can ask questions of others, the answers to which are then posted on users’ profiles. This app it has already been linked to several fatal cases of cyber bullying.


Kik Messenger

Kik Messenger is an alternative to texting. Rated 17+ due to “Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes,” it is popular with younger teens because it’s free to download and use. Kik users can also receive messages from strangers. As might be expected, there have been reports of its being used for solicitation by pedophiles.

When openly discussing  social media with your children, ask them:

  1. Is the social networking site anonymous, or do users have to verify who they are?
  1. Can your child receive messages from strangers or send messages to strangers, or is it a closed group?
  1. Does the App have known security or privacy concerns?
  1. What policies does the site have in place for monitoring abusive posts?
  2. What privacy settings does it have and how easy are they to set?

Teach your child about the moral and legal implications of sexting, sending pictures of themselves, and over-sharing personal information.  Also, explain to them  the consequences of bullying, self-bullying and being bullied online. Parents must keep up- to- date about the apps and websites targeting children.

The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies.  For almost twenty years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic church, Baptist church, Greek Orthodox church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian church among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in schools,  youth sports organizations,  youth camps, daycares, scouting and the like. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website :

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